Breaking: Liverpool down Benfica, put foot into Champions League semis, Manchester City earn slim victory vs Atletico Madrid




Liverpool players rejoice

Liverpool will take a two-goal lead into the Champions League quarter-final second leg at Anfield after earning an important victory over Benfica in Lisbon.

Luis Diaz scored late in the second half to put Jurgen Klopp’s side in control of the contest after it looked like they had failed to capitalise on a dominant first half.

Ibrahima Konate rose highest to head the visitors into the lead from a corner in the 17th minute before Sadio Mane added a clinical second to dampen the mood at a lively Estadio da Luz.

But the home fans ramped up the noise again shortly after the interval when Konate’s mistake allowed sought-after striker Darwin Nunez to pull one back for the Portuguese outfit.

The Premier League side will have a healthy advantage when they welcome Benfica in the second leg next Wednesday, however, after Diaz added a late third with a composed finish after rounding the keeper.

Meanwhile, Kevin de Bruyne’s second-half goal gave Manchester City victory as they overcame Atletico Madrid’s typically fierce resistance in their Champions League quarter-final first leg at Etihad Stadium.

Diego Simeone’s side performed with their trademark defensive discipline, restricting City to very few opportunities until De Bruyne pounced to make the breakthrough with 20 minutes left.

Phil Foden, on as a substitute, produced the moment of magic to unlock Atletico with a perfect pass through the legs of Reinildo for De Bruyne to slot past goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

It was the decisive moment in the tightest of games but City manager Pep Guardiola’s wild celebration illustrated just how much it means to take a lead, even if slender, to Madrid for the second leg on 13 April.

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